Jacquemus debuts menswear under the Mediterranean sun
today Jun 26, 2018
Simon Porte Jacquemus presented his first menswear collection in a sea cove in Marseille at sunset on Monday, revealing a series of "gadjo"-inspired pieces made in natural materials and summery colours.
Most of the models strolled along the sands of Sormiou beach with their trousers rolled up, sporting trenches over bare chests.
The South of France – a long-time obsession of the Provençal designer, which ran through his last souk-inspired womenswear collection – was again omnipresent. Its influence could be seen in everything from the straw hats to the sunflower-patterned shirts, not to mention the sky blue tracksuit, which just so happened to be the exact shade worn by French football team Olympique de Marseille.
Khaki, yellow and a wide range of beige tones were, however, the predominant colours in this collection's palette. Even the designer's reds were soft and natural here, having been soothed into shades of ochre.
"My type of guy likes the sun, swimming, leaving his shirt undone" the 28-year-old designer told AFP, specifying that he had chosen "men who are comfortable in their own skin, Mediterraneans" to play the role of his gadjo.
Indeed, for his "first ever" foray into men's fashion, Simon Porte Jacquemus wanted to revive "all of the clichés about the South of France: the gypsy, the santon, the tacky beach lothario..."
And, of course, the runway had to be in Marseille, his favourite city: "It was a dream of mine to host a show here, in this place which is both accessible and paradisiacal." Taking full advantage of the location's beauty, guests were seated on the sand, looking out to the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.
While his reputation as a womenswear designer is more than established, Jacquemus found himself faced with a "challenge" when it came to menswear: "it's very difficult because you've got to do things simply while also having a real signature aesthetic," he said. This signature aesthetic was present, most notably, through the designer's accessories, which included flat pouch-like bags that hung like necklaces around models' necks.
The designer, a proponent of simple materials, also created a series of light woollen pullovers, the result of a collaboration with The Woolmark Company which produced comfortable, oversized loose-knit pieces.
Simon Porte, who chose to adopt his mother's maiden name Jacquemus when he became a designer, has one of the more unusual backstories among his fashion industry peers, having grown up in Avignon and Marseille with a family of farmers, men and women that he has also described as "artists".
At the age of eight he already dreamt of working in fashion and moved to Paris ten years later to study at a fashion school that he would end up leaving after only two months. He created his first collection when he was 20 years old.
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